In 1973, the Arab Oil Embargo, imposed on the United States because of its support of Israel during the "October War", put the United States on notice that our dependence on foreign oil could hurt our economy. I recall the long lines of cars waiting to fill up at the gas station. The United States at that time made large, gas guzzling automobiles, my family has two eight cylinder Buick sedans and two station wagons.
What did the Arab Oil Embargo teach us? Did we suddenly realize that our dependence on foreign oil threatened our economy, and our "national interest"? Did we decide, then and there, that we should not only start building smaller, more fuel efficient automobiles? Did we, as anyone with an ounce of common sense, conclude that we should explore alternative energy sources?
The answers are no, no, and no!
Instead, we started making bigger automobiles in the 1980s, SUV's come to mind. We increased our dependence on foreign oil, particularly from the Middle East. We did nothing to fund clean, alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric and opened no new nuclear facilities. We developed domestic oil sources in Alaska, and then spilled huge amounts of oil from the Exxon Valdez, up to then, the largest domestic oil spill in our history.
The Gulf Oil spill is a consequence of the failure of the past 40 years of the United States to wean itself from its dependence on oil, a finite resource, and not to develop alternative energy sources.
It seems to me that developing these sources is fully in our "national interest", for now, and for the future!